The quietness of the neighborhood, once one the things he liked the most about the location of the house, now weighed on Max’s spirit. It was 4pm and he had just finished a twelve hour shift. Bloomfeld-Hyman Pediatric Surgical Center where he worked was located in Chicago’s downtown area. This meant that there was always noise, if not from the busy hospital, then from the bustling city in which it was located. He was never alone with his thoughts when he was at work, which was good, because his thoughts were not the best company these days. When he returned home, however, it was an exercise in creativity to avoid them. He had worked out; pounding out miles on the treadmill in the basement until he was weak with exhaustion, and then lifted weights to further seal the deal. After a warm shower, he’d lain down, hoping to fall asleep. But the silence of the house and its surroundings, instead of providing peace, hung like an ominous cloud which would rain down unwanted thoughts and reflections. The silence was almost passive aggressive, like the religious fanatic aunt who obviously disapproved of some aspect of your lifestyle but instead of talking to you about it, gave you the silent treatment, accompanied by baleful looks which eventually pushed you to confront her, after which she spoke non stop, quoting the bible copiously.
“You son of a bitch.”
A sense of deja vu swept over Sebastian. He felt like he was in the hospital again with Iya standing before him in her hospital gown.
“I’m leaving M & R. I cannot work for your family after this. It’s been made clear to me whose side they are on. And I’m calling my lawyer to figure out what I need to do have charges filed again against Kyle Hammond. I read somewhere that there is no statute of limitation but I don’t know what will happen since I dropped the charges back then. I also need to find these other women, perhaps I can get them to file reports if I offer them some protection.”
Kyle’s smile, which did nothing to hide his pleasure at her fear, Sebastian’s possible betrayal, the likely meaning of the increasingly painful cramps and the warm trickle of blood she could feel inching it’s way down her thigh sent a thrill of energy coursing through Iya’s body. It electrified her, melting away her fear and replacing it with a rage so pure, so righteous it was the cleanest emotion she had ever felt. Her heart beat so loud she could almost hear the sound. Her hands shook from her effort to keep herself from marching over to where he stood and hitting him as hard as she could.
Iya decided at that moment that she was done being afraid. Done being a victim. Kyle, his family had taken her innocence and shredded it to bits like used tissue. She had lived so many years in terror of them and even when that terror had muted to a dim rumble in the background, the consequences of their actions remained an unending ripple through her life, upsetting everything in its path, her marriage, her job and now her baby.
“Kyle, how nice to see you.” Her voice remained calm, her gaze steady and unflinching.
He looked around the office, noting her carelessly discarded jacket, the pearls on the floor and her shoes haphazardly kicked to a corner. His smile spread.
“Looks like you were in the middle of something…?”
She didn’t answer immediately, choosing instead to examine him. He was a handsome man no doubt and he had aged well. At about 6 feet, he still looked trim and fit. He filled out his suit with muscles that were neither too bulky nor too stringy. His tanned skin glowed with health, his hair still dark brown and full, no grey strands and no sign of receding. His hazel eyes with their thick lashes would have been strikingly beautiful, if not for the maleficence they now gleamed with. In another life she may have found him attractive. She had found him attractive. Right now, he was the singular object of her disgust. She would not give him the satisfaction of hearing her lie to cover up her discomfiture.
“I was actually,” her smile was brittle, a mere stretching of her lips without the expected accompanying warmth . “I wasn’t expecting to spend my lunch with a rapist and his disgusting family. Knocked the wind out my sails quite a bit.”
She walked over to her desk and sat down in her chair, grateful for the imposing size of her furniture. Sitting down offered some reprieve from the pain and ensured that there was no way he would notice if her bleeding increased. Him standing up and her sitting behind her desk also changed the dynamic in the room. No longer was she the panicking woman he’d hoped to intimidate. She was an executive, in her office. In control. He had come in to ask for her time, which she could deny him the pleasure of. He noticed what she had done and smirked at her.
“Come on now, Iya. I remember our little escapade differently.” He walked over to stand in front of her desk, then leaned forward to invade her space. “You spent that whole evening clinging to me like a scared rabbit. Completely out of place, grateful that someone was paying attention to you. Then you saw the looks the other girls there were giving you because I stayed with you and it pleased you that they were jealous of you. Because I wanted you. Think I didn’t notice the way you looked at me? Smiled at me when I brought you drinks? But you were too shy to openly say you wanted me so I helped you along. And you liked it. You loved it. Don’t you remember, Iya? You came. Over and over and over. It was fucking beautiful. The most perfect thing I have ever seen in my life. “
Familiar feelings of guilt and shame warred within Iya. She had been grateful for his company that night and had been dazzled by the attention he gave her. Heck, she might have said yes had he come on to her. But she had not asked to be drugged so much she almost died from the overdose. She had not wanted the orgasms he had forced from her body or any of the shame and pain and guilt that had been her constant companion after that night.
“You know what’s really funny, Kyle? I actually was quite taken by you that night. I mean, here I was, this hick from Cameroon being romanced, it felt like, by Kyle Hammond of all people. Senator Hammond’s son. The Kyle Hammond who made every female heart in Dr. Mardsen’s Contemporary American Writers class beat double time when he walked in. Adelaide and I used to laugh about it.”
A particularly strong cramp sent a shot of pain through her causing her to gasp. It was followed by more warm wetness between her thighs. Her eyes watered, the tears both for the physical pain and the cruelness of fate which had led her to this moment where she sat here losing her baby while the man who had raped her waxed nostalgic about the good time they had together. She faced him with tears flowing down her face, her gaze not wavering from his as she spoke.
“But you know what you did was wrong. You know what happened between us did not happen because I wanted it. You know that those orgasms were not from me enjoying myself. You can try to tell yourself otherwise and you may even believe yourself, but you know. Your mother knows too. That is why she came to my hospital room and threatened me. The Roths do too. Everyone who knows what happens knows you are a rapist. You know what else, Kyle? The state of New York has no statute of limitation on first degree rape or criminal sexual acts or aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree, all of which happened that night. For someone about to run for public office I’d be careful about throwing my weight around if I were you. I’m no longer the scared 17 year old you or your family can terrify into silence.”
The bastard smirked at her.
“You think you can touch me? Your rape kit was destroyed before you left the hospital and none of the others ever dared to go to the police after they knew what happened to you.”
None of the others. There were others?
The question must have been evident on her face because he laughed again.
“There is something about seeing a woman climax when she really doesn’t want to but can’t help it. You wouldn’t play with me anymore so I had to find other sweet brown skinned goddesses who reminded me of you, to play with.”
There had been other girls. Girls he had targeted because they looked like her. Girls he had been able to target because she had never pressed charges against him. Something broke inside of Iya.
“Get out.” She said, her vision clouding with tears of rage. “Get out! GET OUT! GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY OFFICE YOU MONSTER !”
She grabbed the nearest thing she could reach, a glass paper holder molded to look like a seashell and threw it at him.
He casually leaned to the side as the object sailed past his head and crashed on the wall, breaking into shards. Mission accomplished, he strolled out of the office.
“See you at lunch, Iya.”
Read Part 7.7 here
Read Part 7.5 here
“Open your eyes. I’m not going to hurt you. I promise.”
Scholastica shook her head no. She couldn’t look at him – wouldn’t look at him. His was a face that would haunt her for the rest of her life if he really let her live. She didn’t need to see it up close.
“OK. That’s alright. What’s your name?” he asked, his voice gentle.
“Ngeng – Scholastica” She managed to say between sobs.
“Scholastica,” he mused. ” A Roman Catholic saint. Twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia. They say she prayed and summoned a storm, so her brother would stay and talk with her. She must have been a very lonely woman.”
He paused as though waiting for her to respond. She didn’t.
“I know they laugh at you, because of Ebola. The dumb fucks don’t even realize you couldn’t possibly have the disease.”
He paused again, and then continued.
“They laugh at me too, because I am smart and I see through their entire pretense.”
He laughed then, sounding genuinely amused.
“They’ll never laugh at me again after this. They’ll say my name with fear and anger but they will never laugh at me again.”
Schola heard him walk away, his steps loud in the water puddles that were beginning to form from the sprinklers.
“Hey,” he called back at her. Her eyes popped open before she could stop herself and she stared into his blank grey stare. “I’m really sorry you had to witness this.”
With those words, he turned and walked away towards the cafeteria.
Lem had the dream again. She’d begun having the dream from the day she saw her first flow, which meant she was now able to start wearing her seer stones and sit with the arobos, the tribal seers. She could now sit with them and hone her skills as one of the people chosen by Laa Gui, the Water Mother, to guide the village.